Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tom Yum Soup

Not from a jar!

I have a massive lemongrass that I really need to use before it dies back, so I finally learnt how to harvest the stems without killing it. It's very easy, reach in and twist!
Of course I had to find something to cook with it, and the first thing I thought of was a classic Tom Yum Soup. I almost always order this at a Thai restaurant if they have a vege option, and most seem to nowadays.

I went to a different fruit shop than I usually do on the way home from work one day and found a packet of Kaffir Lime Leaves for only $1.50! (You can freeze these to use later). Lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves - two main ingredients of a tom yum.

Tom Yum Soup
Serves 4 as a large starter (or add some noodles for a main)

6 cups chicken style stock
2 stalks lemongrass, minced, and reserve the hard inedible part (here is a handy how to)*
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 hot red chillies (such as birdseye) minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1x1 inch ginger, sliced into match sticks
1 cup brocolli, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into half moons
1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
2 tomatoes
1 block of tofu, cubed (I used some seitan I had in the freezer)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh basil


In a large pot, bring stock, minced lemongrass, lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, garlic and ginger to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes then add brocolli, carrot, zucchini, tomatoes and tofu/seitan to the pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

Just before you are ready to serve, stir in the soy sauce, lime juice and basil.


*I sliced mine up thinly then put it all into my mortar and pestle and ground it up almost into a paste. A food processor would also work. You could do the lemongrass, garlic and chilli all at once if you like.
This was so good. Restaurant quality! I reckon I probably won't buy the jarred paste again :) We had it with a side of rice noodles and peanut butter.

One day if I'm rich I might buy a packet of those weird vegan prawns you can get at Asian food stores. I saw some once and they were like $15!! (I've had vegan calamari before at a restaurant - amazing. And I know calamari.)

Apparently lemongrass is freezeable. So I think I'm going to harvest most of what I have (about a million stalks) and divide the rest and replant it for next summer. I'll either freeze them as whole stalks or process the whole lot and freeze in tablespoon sized amounts like I usually do with tomato paste :)


mangocheeks said...

Wow, homegrown lemongrass.

Lemongrass is an ingredient I still have to familiarize myself with.

I'm liking all the flavours here.

Theresa said...

Oh, good tips about lemongrass. We have a few stalks in a pot, which is kind of struggling along. Maybe I'll put it out of its misery and harvest and put it in the freezer. We have never really known how to use it properly, so just end up feeding the leaves to Nacho, or making tea with them. So thanks for that link!

Emma said...

@ Theresa: My lemongrass was struggling in it's pot but I put it in the ground and it took off. But you don't have anywhere in the ground to put it do you? It also likes full sun and lots of water. It naturally dies back when it gets cooler too.

Haha, one of my cats loves lemongrass so much she was eating the shrivelled up brown dry stuff I had hanging on the back of the door for too long. Aww.

Emma said...

@mangocheeks: lemongrass loves the high humidity we have here so it grows really easily :) It's one of my favourite plants.